It was a super early start to the day. Sophie and Liam tiptoed out of bed and downstairs to watch the beautiful wedding of Jacky and Matt. Jacky, you looked stunning in your dress and Matt, you looked smart as well. It was nice to be a part of it from afar.
The morning restarted with a big bowl of porridge and a quick chat with Nali, Amy and Becca. The news then came in, hot off the press, that Pembroke Old Scholars Soccer Club had just won the Division 1, A-grade Collegiate Soccer League for the fourth time (first since 2013). Congratulations everyone, massive achievement!
Now we have our hiking boots and Rolls-Royce toddler carrier we could finally go hiking. The big question was where? Absolutely spoilt for choice in this corner of the world. We initially set our sights on Ben Lomond, but after reading it is a 4.5-5.5 hour hike and a 3 out of 3 boot rating on the hiking scale, we figured we should ease our way into this. We settled on a 361m (1184ft) 2 boot climb, Conic Hill.
It was a short car ride before strapping the kids in and heading on up, Lachlan to Super Mum and Eloise and “baby” to Dadda. Morale was high as we skipped off. Of course, no “baby” could be left behind and they were along for the views. Luckily Dad had got a fresh trim earlier in the day so there was not too much hair for Eloise to pull.
On the way up there was lots of encouragement and compliments from the friendly Scots. Ironically Eloise and “baby” were getting all the praise.
The skipping turned to a dawdle when the flat path became a steep windy climb. The views on the way up were spectacular over loch Lomond and a good excuse for the odd rest.
The final steep scramble was a wee challenging with the kids. The views from the top were worth it though. When we arrived, Eloise found Delilah, how did she get here? Beccaaaaaaa!
The kids then had a quick nibble and rest with Sophie while Liam sprinted over a couple of summits away from everyone so he could deploy Darryl.
We then scrambled down. We must have picked a good time because the track was getting busy. It felt like the Mount Lofty of Glasgow. We were at the bottom in no time, with burning thighs. Eloise finished strongly with “baby” on her shoulders. It is adorable watching her learning and copying everything.
The next challenge was to find some tasty bush tucker. We decided on The But & Ben, a trendy cafe. The haggis panini went down a treat, Sophie even had a nibble, Eloise is still yet to be convinced. Still a bit peckish we shared an Empire biscuit and rocky road.
But and ben (or butt and ben) is an architectural style for a simple building, usually applied to a residence. The etymology is from the Scots term for a two-roomed cottage. The term describes a basic design of “outer room” conjoined with “inner room” as a residential building plan; the outer room, used as an antechamber or kitchen, is the but, while the inner room is the ben. The word but, here, comes from Early Scots/Middle English “bouten” “outside”, and ben from ES/ME “binnen”, “inside”. Neither word survived into standard Modern English, which began as Chaucer’s Kentish dialect.
An Empire biscuit is a sweet biscuit eaten in Scotland, and other Commonwealth countries. Empire biscuit was originally known as the “Linzer biscuit”, and later as the “Deutsch biscuit”. With the outbreak of the First World War it was renamed: in England to Empire biscuit, in Scotland to Belgian biscuit because Belgium had just been invaded, but in Northern Ireland it remains known as the German biscuit or biscuit bun. In Scotland the name now varies depending on the region, with the North-east typically calling it a double shortbread and the West an Empire biscuit.
The But & Ben had a quirky map showing all the climbing we still have ahead of us. You can see Conic Hill down the bottom in the middle. This week a friend, Kirrie, introduced me to the term “Munro Bagging”.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to conquer Scotland’s Munros, a list of Scottish mountains which are named after Sir Hugh T Munro, who surveyed and catalogued them in 1891. Climbing these peaks is a great way for experienced walkers to explore some of Scotland’s finest scenery and further-flung locations. Munros are mountains that are found across Scotland that are over 3,000 ft (914.4m). There are in total 282 Munros across Scotland. The highest Munro is Ben Nevis at 4,411 ft (1,345 m). Munro bagging is a popular pastime in Scotland where walking enthusiasts challenge themselves to climb as many of the peaks as they can – over 6,000 people, called ‘compleatists’ (or Munroists) have climbed them all so far.
As the Conic Hill “climb” was only 361m, the Fensoms Munro count remains at a big fat zero.
Kirrie, you have got us into this, so get ready to climb.
It was then home time because it’s not going to tidy itself, unfortunately. Eloise completely crashed from all the walking she did not do.
Once the kids were in bed, we could finally put our feet up and watch Scotland defeat Moldova in their football World Cup qualifier, played at Hampden Park, Glasgow